Lavender Love

How does their garden grow? With lots of volunteers, heartfelt passion, and a cool festival // Photo by Heather Saunders
One of the best benefits of lavender is its relaxing, soothing properties. The scent encourages a good night’s sleep and can even relieve tension headaches. Pick your own at the Oakland Hills Community Garden’s Lavender Harvest festival.

Every July, the Oakland Hills community garden team hosts a Lavender Harvest festival at their Lake Orion farm. It’s a fun family event replete with dried and fresh lavender, soaps, sachets, art, children’s activities, and U-pick lavender gardens. In addition to lavender, the garden’s volunteers grow everything from squash and kale to tomatoes and peppers, which they give to the Micah 6 Community, a Pontiac nonprofit. Members of the Micah 6 Community then sell the produce at a store called Sprout. At the close of the growing season, “Whatever fresh lavender isn’t sold, we meet in the winter to make lavender bath salts, sachets, and sugar,” says Nicolette Jenaras, who co-owns the farming property and grew up adjacent to the farm. One of her friends, a leader at Kensington Church, had the idea to turn the property into a farm a few years back. “This entirely volunteer-run garden exists because of the literally thousands of beautiful, hardworking souls who have entered here helping us grow thousands of pounds of food for others,” Jenaras says. “It’s about growing food, feeding people, and building community.” As for the lavender harvest, Jenaras says the pretty purple plant is both beautiful and practical. “Pinch our sachets anytime and you’ll get fresh scents. The sachet aroma lasts forever.”

About the festival: This year, it runs from 11 a.m.-4p.m., July 14, 3266 Stoney Creek Rd., Lake Orion.